“Number two is move Netscape out of the win32 client area.”
–Paul Maritz, Vice President, Microsoft
In a recent analysis, “Did Microsoft Hijack XenSource Like It Tries to Hijack Yahoo?”, we explained the role of insiders in subverting a company’s direction. Only yesterday, as already mentioned in our digest, news emerged that Yahoo got sued for declining Microsoft’s offer. Another by-proxy lawsuit? Your call. Microsoft explicitly said that it was entering “proxy war” mode only days beforehand.
VMWare Gets Insider
Takeovers, takeovers, takeovers.
What’s with all the takeovers anyway? Might this be the effect of a recession Soros speaks of nowadays? These are some interesting yet very confusing times that we live in. An acquisition by VMWare has just brought this somewhat alarming news.
Former Softie Maritz to head cloud computing at EMC
Former Microsoft Platforms chief Paul Maritz may be best remembered for his alleged threat to “cut off Netscape’s air supply.” (For the record, Maritz has denied he ever said those exact words.)
Paul Maritz brings many memorable quotes back to mind. Why will he be heading a company that Microsoft intends to attack from multiple directions? That’s how they typically begin to affect companies like XenSource and even Google. One of our readers, who is also an active participant in OpenSUSE, called these “Microsoft inside jobs” (or insiders) and he once suggested that Novell might be a victim also.
“The major reason for this is: to combat [Netscape] we have to position the browser as “going away” and do deeper integration on Windows. The stronger way to communicate this is to have a “new release” of Windows and make a big deal out of it. We will thus position Memphis as “Windows 98. IE integration will be the most compelling feature of Memphis.
–Paul Maritz, Vice President, Microsoft
On Nokia, Microsoft and Other Arbitrary Thoughts
With the sudden departure of the long-time chief of Microsoft's Mobile Unit, it hardly seems like Microsoft’s future in the cellular area is all that bright. The chief moves on to Vodafone by the way.
The Nokia-Trolltech situation [1, 2, 3, 4] gives not so many reasons to cheer. In fact, rather curious was the recent Nokia-Microsoft flirt. which fortunately ended up with no major announcement being made. But let’s look a little closer at possible relationships between those two companies.
After posting this short article, a reader got in touch and below are parts of the conversation which you may or may not find interesting (the first part in particular).
Think of adding one main link to a good article on a non-Microsoft tool in each article.
Microsoft would rather have criticism than talk about their competition. Talking about the real tools frustrates that.
Linking to Nokia, a software patent lobbyist?
Yeah it sucks that Nokia bought Trolltech. Nokia does some good things, but their software patent lobbying and their sabotaging of Ogg in HTML5 really compensate. By the way, if you look at the HTML5 fiasco, Stephen Wenger’s full resume explains a lot: he worked at Microsoft for several years. It’s so much like Scientology, except dressed as a business rather than a Church.
Call me cynical, but when the news first hit Slashdot the first thing I did was see who the company rep was and then search for his homepage and read his CV. Voila. Mystery solved.
The recent Groklaw story goes a little into these methods:
but nothing explicit about use of fifth columnists. Microsoft apologists always counter with accusations about “conspiracy theorists”(*) Were it that simple to dismiss. Just because it’s harmful does not mean it’s a conspiracy.
“Ad hominem is one of their most commonly used and successful counters to just about everything. e.g. Look at Massachusetts.”All that brings me back to the question of what place in tomorrow’s society can there be for today’s Microsofters? They have jobs but what they do in their jobs doesn’t actually benefit their own employer, but instead puts Microsoft interests ahead at the cost of their employer. That’s both up front cost and lost productivity. And further it’s done over time in spite of many opportunities to take a different path. So the choice to cause harm is made not once but many times. Given that level of breach of trust, where can they fit in?
And that also skips the unpleasant question of their lack of technical skills.
(*) Ad hominem is one of their most commonly used and successful counters to just about everything. e.g. Look at Massachusetts. I notice that Quinn’s name has not been cleared despite all the time passed since the accusations and smear campaign.
Both points (conspiracy + ad hominem) in the first half:
Checkout the date-time stamps of the article (UTC) and my message. (UTC +2) It’s like clockwork or script.
Mind you, Microsoft hires abroad, so ex-Softies are independent from total headcount at Microsoft.
As are permatemps. It was my hypothesis that this was done so as to be able to downsize without reporting mass layoffs.
I’ve unfortunately been off Usenet for about 1.5 years. It’s of major importance, or at least of major use, with the OLPC project because of the mesh network – async communications. It needs to get relaunched, perhaps with a redesign to deal with spam, in the US, China and Russia to counter facism.
However, Microsoft is growing into a large anti-democracy movement of its own. If enough people sell out / turn quisling, then it can trump the current world powers.
An equally interesting E-mail exchange brought up some interesting observations about staff reduction. This message was receive just a couple of hours ago from a well-regarded veteran whose name won’t be mentioned here:
Anonymised, in reference to Microsoft’s growing pains:
Interesting. They have a lot of mouths to feed so if they do run into income problems it won’t take long to show up. There is a limit to how long accountancy can hide stuff.
Novell is the same. They admitted it (to Asay, in private).
I’m not at all surprised about Novell. We used Netware back in the late 80s and I thought it was over-priced then. It was a business model waiting for someone to come in and disrupt it as networking became the norm. What happened with NT was pretty classic Christensen-style disruption. Good enough for the bulk of new users and a lot less expensive than Novell. OOo and Linux are doing the same thing. Since then I’m surprised Novell kept enough customers to stay in business at all. I’m not sure they will stay in business now. Maybe Microsoft will buy them Suse Linux owned by Microsoft. I remember when Acorn was dominating the schools market here and brought out the ARM processor. All the Acorn geeks had stickers on their computers with “Intel Outside” on them. Now Intel license ARM products mainly as a result of buying Digital who produced StrongArm. At some point Microsoft is going to end up selling services around Linux, it’s more a matter of when than if. And probably Microsoft Office will at some point get ported to Linux. Microsoft will probably downsize its workforce through some sort of restructuring. Maybe break the company up into several smaller companies and some of those could go out of business without bringing the lot down. Might be next year, might be 5 years off but I think the tipping point has been reached some time ago where the changes are unstoppable. It’s just timing now.
Another reader asked us to revisit the role of Corel, which we shall do shortly. █
“To combat NSCP we have to have [sic] position the browser as ‘going away’ and do deeper integration on Windows. The stronger way to communicate this is to have a ‘new release’ of Windows and make a big deal out of it. We will thus position Memphis as ‘Windows 98′.”
–Paul Maritz, Vice President, Microsoft
Send this to a friend
Complemented by Novell’s unwelcome work on Moolight and OOXML translators
Upon request, the other day we mentioned the United States Government serving as a Microsoft vehicle for spreading rather hostile technology which excludes or at least discriminates against Microsoft’s rivals. This was truly a new low, especially in an age when technology professionals must realise the importance of open standards. Things are not any better in the UK.
In the following new complaint about the Library of Congress liaising with Microsoft an important point gets raised that revolves around Microsoft’ donations. Donations may play a role [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. 9, 10].
The Library of Congress recently signed a deal to accept 3 million dollars worth of “technology, services and funding” from Microsoft towards building a new website powered by Microsoft’s Silverlight plug-in. I (Casey) usually leave the blogging to Tim, but I’ve got to say something about this.
Most disturbingly, users are locked in, too: anybody using an iPhone, an old version of Windows, any version of Linux, or any other operating system or device not supported by Silverlight will be unable to use the Library of Congress’ new website.
Mind the bits about the ‘special’ relationship Microsoft has with libraries, which should gone with something more standard like Ajax
OOXML Upgrade Treadmill
OOXML is wrongly portrayed as an act of ‘opening up’, but would it not be phenomenal if one could also use it to boost sales of Microsoft Office? The following small observation caught Groklaw’s attention.
In Jon Udell’s keynote speech at the conference, he mentioned that the only Microsoft Office 2003 application that would lack an XML output option was the mail program, but he forgot another one, PowerPoint. I was looking forward to some sort of Save As XML feature in PowerPoint so that I could create the kind of speaker notes that I like from XML versions of PowerPoint presentations, and it looks like I won’t get this ability for a while, at least not directly from Microsoft.
In other words, even Office 2003 users might prepare for another forced upgrade, courtesy of OOXML. Support is not complete in versions prior to Office 2007, which does not even implement the documented ECMA OOXML. Now is the time to escape to OpenDocument format.
The Bigger Picture
The editor of LinuxToday has published a storming analysis that pulls together some of the bits and pieces at play. While optimistic, it suggests that OOXML is more than just a case of saving Microsoft Office from threats. The article concludes with:
In a future world of all-cloud devices, the notion of a desktop Linux, like the notion of a desktop Windows or OS X machine, would be very different. Certainly of these three operating systems, Linux has the best reputation and capability for going small and fast.
Even if this sci-fi-sounding world does not come to be, I am increasingly convinced that the next big new market in IT is the cloud sector–a sector for which Linux (and ODF) is already well-suited.
Overall, it is a very interesting analysis worth reading. █
Send this to a friend
Several days ago we explored this mysterious phenomenon of OOXML fans working anonymously in various Web sites to promote the format. A reader whom we were in touch with had more insights to share, particularly with respect to the increased activity ahead of the BRM in Geneva [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].
“You mention hA1,” he said. He proceeded to arguing that “this username, maybe the same person, has been causing problems at Wikipedia regarding MOOX and ODF. It was whittling away at the ODF articles: dilute, remove redundant parts, repeat until small, request delete or merge.”
Even though we may have identified the person in question, our reader suggests that it won’t do much. “However, without getting to the real names, just going after the handles will cause them to get better at hiding,” he says. But here comes the more interesting bit about disruptive activities at Slashdot. Some friends believe that it ceased to properly focus on topics that it originally used to cover (the same goes for Digg.com).
Here is what our reader tells us about a phenomenon which we already know exists (with plenty of hard proof): AstroTurfing. Here is what he told us:
“I see that in the deluge of slashvertisements (aka gratuitous Microsoft articles) as well as that I have been getting modded down into oblivion like never, ever before.”This week, the astroturfers seem to have returned to Slashdot or at least become highly active again after biding their time. I see that in the deluge of slashvertisements (aka gratuitous Microsoft articles) as well as that I have been getting modded down into oblivion like never, ever before.
The deluges often distract from something. The timing suggests it could be the ISO BRM and/or the replacement of the Yahoo board.
Things that I observe from my posts and from other people’s posts is the following things really drive the astroturfers nuts:
- Critique of Gates’ dressed-as-charity political activities e.g. Gendarme announcement about Linux and Gates rushes in after
- Critique of media spin on Windows malware as affecting all systems and brands. It’s not an ‘e-mail’ virus, it’s an Microsoft Outlook worm. It’s not a computer worm, but a Windows worm etc.
- Microsoft often posts separate advisories for their ‘latest’ version regarding malware. That allows them to imply (or others to apply wishful thinking) that the latest version is some how secure. Days later, the advisory for those system is brought out quietly and ignored
- Microsoft nearly always compares the performance and features of competitor’s existing products to their own future plans and vaporware. We got column-meters of articles daily about $CODENAME will do this, that or solve this or that. What was actually delivered? Not much, and the press is already going on about $NEXTVERSION instead of pointing out that Microsoft failed to deliver what the competition already has.
- Along those lines, WinFS was a widely touted feature of W95 – Vista.
- Critique of the cult-like or political nature of Microsoft as outlined in http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20071023002351958 (hey, if it looks like a duck… )
- Critique of the really dangerous components like DirectX, Silverlight, .NET, C#, etc. Silverlight distracts people away from AJAX while .NET strives to eliminate Java, JBoss, Ruby on Rails, etc.
- Mention of the standards that the dangerous components are intended to replace, like OpenGL, AJAX, Java, etc. More examples include:
- OOXML -> ODF
- WMA-WMV -> MPEG, MP3, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, Ogg Theora
- IIS -> Apache, Lighttpd
- Microsoft SQL Server -> MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle
- Microsoft’s IE -> Firefox, Opera
- Microsoft Outlook -> Thunderbird, Eudora, Alpine
- Microsoft Exchange -> Citadel, Zimbra, Kolab
- Windows -> Linux, Solaris, BSD
- Gnome -> KDE, Fluxbox
- Fact checking: Google’s not making a version of Photoshop that runs on Linux, it’s making a version of WINE that runs Photoshop
- Fact checking: Google’s not making aversion of Picasa that runs on linux with opengl, it’s making a version of WINE that runs Directx and Picasa. DirectX gives the control of video and photo rendering to Microsoft.
- Lackluster sales and market share across the board much of the ‘revenue’ is probably buying and selling its own stock
- Lackluster sales of consoles and games. Microsoft has the hype, but if the reviews ever were to include PS2, then Xbox would be fourth place
- Mention of DRM and data formats, I speculate that Microsoft is working on spreading DirectX and other DRM so that the backlash will be manageable when they get a few camera makers to drop JPEG for their proprietary HDPhoto.
- Fact checking: Microsoft has not released old office format specs for competitors’ use: AFAIK it’s non-commercial use only, which rules out FOSS projects.
- Pointing out that much of the productivity gained in the 1980′s from using computers appears now to be lost by problems attributable and exclusive to Microsoft products
- Pointing out that Microsoft malware alone has caused more economic damage, and perhaps indirectly, real human suffering than Bush’s family friend Osama bin Laden could ever dream of.
- Same for the economic damage caused by anti-competitive tactics and broken interoperability (even within Microsoft products) e.g. PlaysForSure, various versions of office formats, etc.
- Opinion: Yahoo should release Zimbra as GPL
- Opinion: Yahoo should market its heavy contributions to FOSS, especially to BSD, to its advantage. These are the jobs that Microsoft wants to keep during the take over. See Borland, but grab the article before it disappears forever.
- Suggestion: find a library with paper copies of BYTE. Persue issues from the late 90′s, 80′s and 70′s
All the above were merely thoughts from a reader, which you may or may not consider sensitive points that someone is trying hard to hide. █
Send this to a friend
Mastery of spin doctors
Even though the arguments apply equally-well to Novell (example here), this post will concentrate on recent examples from Microslft.
“There were big new departures to be announced.”As we pointed out quite recently, under the mainstream media‘s nose, some of Microsoft's long-time and most principal executives are leaving the company which secretly struggles. One of the more astonishing cases of spin was last seen just over a week ago when Microsoft in some sense prepared its shareholders for what it had initially chosen to call “reorgs”.
Ina Fried, an almost self-professed fan of Microsoft and seemingly a friend of Steve Ballmer, broke (down) the news before anyone else did, even before it went public (with the exception of the Wall Street Journal, which rejects the ideals of open access). There were big new departures to be announced. Here is a fragment of the text:
The move will see three top executives–including two prominent outside hires–out of a job. Leaving the company are: Senior Vice President Steven Berkowitz, the former Ask.com CEO who had been heading Microsoft’s online services unit, and Mike Sievert, the former AT&T Wireless executive brought in to run Windows marketing. Both Sievert and Berkowitz had already seen some duties handed off to others at the company and their departures were largely expected.
Also leaving is Pieter Knook, longtime head of Microsoft’s Windows Mobile unit.
Watch what Microsoft did when this became a reality and a few of the most prominent people at the company simply left. The company announced the news in a press release that raves about promotion (because surely a bunch of departures would leave some empty yet crucial seats).
Spot the spin.
Press Release Source: Microsoft Corp.
Microsoft Announces New, Expanded Roles for Key Executives
To make matters worse, journalists drank this medicine. Rather than explaining the disturbing consequences and the effects on the company’s Web and Mobile divisions in particular, the press at large made the appointment of replacements seem like a wonderful development.
Other journalists/analysts resorted to quite a stretch and went extremely far to justify those changes. Some where trying very hard to convince themselves that Microsoft was simply preparing for the Yahoo takeover, so the departures were related. Not quite so! In fact, Microsoft went out of its way to squash these speculations:
Microsoft’s online, mobile phone chiefs depart
The software giant says the management shake up has nothing to do with its proposed buyout of Yahoo.
Several days ago, another case of deception made a nasty comeback. Cited by Slashdot, Valleywag spoke about what seems like the true story behind Brian Valentine’s departure.
Did Microsoft lie about top exec’s departure?
The departure of Brian Valentine, a 19-year Microsoft veteran before he left in 2006, has always been a bit of a puzzle. In August of that year, Microsoft management told his staff he was taking a new job within the company after shipping Windows Vista. A month later, he left for Amazon.com. Now, Amazon.com has cleared things up with a belated SEC filing: Microsoft lied to its employees.
You can see a video of Steve Ballmer and Brian Valentine here. The pattern of deception that accompanies such departures is another case of Microsoft deceiving its own employees and partners, so Novell ought to be watching carefully. Bill Gates, for example, was caught lying in the past. True intent is rarely revealed and weaknesses get spun as strengths.
Another recent (and noticeable) departure was that of Windows Vista’s marketing chief. We mentioned it briefly in the digests, but the media was nowhere to spot such significant news.
Michael Sievert, Corporate Vice President for Windows Product Marketing, is moving on, according to multiple sources of mine.
It’s hard to make the case that Sievert, who was responsible for the worldwide introduction of Windows Vista, isn’t being pushed for the less-than-enthusiastic public perception of Microsoft’s latest version of Windows. Even though Microsoft has moved 100-million-plus copies of Vista, many consumers and businesses still consider the new release buggy, sluggish and incompatible with existing software and drivers.
Let this post be another demonstration of dishonesty, based on very recent and live examples. Somebody keeps bluffing. █
Send this to a friend